Lollipop Chainsaw Review
By: Jimmy Kovalski
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
Rating: M for Mature (Blood and Gore,Drug Reference,Intense Violence,Partial Nudity,Sexual Themes and Strong Language)
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
Release Date: June 12th 2012
A goofy and fun B-Movie horror flick in videogame form.
Lollipop Chainsaw puts you in the shoes of Juliet Starling. A cheerleader for San Romero High that is celebrating her 18th birthday. This is no ordinary 18th birthday. Upon arriving at the school park to meet her boyfriend, Juliet discovers that her entire school is infected with zombies. It then becomes a matter of finding what exactly is going on and to try and put an end to the madness. You discover that the barrier between Earth and Rotten World (A realm in which zombies and demons live) has been broken and that is the reason behind the zombie outbreak. In order to put an end to this you must find and kill five different demons, who have taken a zombie like form and are themed around different genres of music. You will occasionally get some help from your two sisters Cordelia and Rosalind to make things a bit easier for Juliet. This is the premise behind Lollipop Chainsaw and with the exception of a few plot twists, the game does very little to deviate from this.
The story overall isn’t a bad one, in fact; it’s quite entertaining. It’s not what one would call “award-winning,” but it does a good job entertaining you the entire way through. Sure the plot is a bit ridiculous and way out there but that is something we have come accustom to with Suda 51 games. My main problem with the story is the fact that it ends so quick. It will take most average gamers around 3-5 hours to beat and more serious gamers even less and with no multiplayer to speak of, this is a serious hit to the replay value of the game. The game does have a several different difficulties to play on and a leaderboard to go with each. The game also has a “arcade” mode where you can race against other peoples times, kill the most zombies or see who can obtain the highest score. Again, however; the problem here is that there are only six levels so even these modes can be beaten in under a few hours. The one lone thing that the game has that does bolster the games replay value is the collectables. If you can think of a collectable, it is probably in Lollipop Chainsaw. There are many different costumes to obtain, named zombies to kill to fill your “zombie album”, music to collect, attributes to rank up and yes, even lollipops to collect. To obtain 100% in these you must go through the game at least three times, which makes the game last a little longer.
On the gameplay side of things, Lollipop Chainsaw is much like a brawler in that you go through linear levels and just beat the living hell out of you enemies or in this case, zombies. At the end of each level you will encounter a “final boss” and each boss fight is pretty unique and fun as each has a different weakness that you must exploit to win and each of these bosses do have several stages to them with each requiring a different strategy. As stated above, Juliet can be upgraded. You can upgrade such things as her health, strength, recovery (from when she gets knocked down) and also buy here new combos. When you start the game you will no doubt be bored out of your mind with the combat of the game. For the first 30-45 minutes of the game you will do nothing but pound the attack button with the occasional “kick button” every now and then. The game does eventually open up once you unlock new moves buy killing zombies and collecting coins. You use these coins at vendor stations that are scattered around each level to buy upgrades, moves, items and costumes. Even with more combos the gameplay still feels very sluggish, heavy and at times; very unresponsive. This is a shame as the game could have been so much more playable with a Devil May Cry or God of War smoothness to the controls. That being said, many people have said that the heavy controls fit because she is wielding a giant chainsaw, however; in a game that is so over the top, this makes little sense and just makes for a more frustrating game.
Julie’s boyfriend Nick is by her side the whole time…literally. He (because of some unfortunate events) is just a head that’s dangling like a key chain from Juliets hip. He does play a pretty neat role in combat as he can be shot out of a cannon, stunning zombies; or be used to generate more coins for you to spend. These are neat little moves but I found myself ignoring them for most of my playthrough because they are not essential to make it through. You also have a little meter at the bottom of your screen called the Star-Meter. You fill this meter by killing zombies and collecting stars. Once activated you pretty much enter a god-mode and everything you touch dies in one hit. This can make the game extremely easy at times and bosses stand no chance.
One of my favorite things about Lollipop Chainsaw is the presentation. The game graphically really jumps at you with its vibrant colors and comic book style look. It really does, at times; feel like you are playing a graphic novel and that gets a thumbs up from me. The voice acting is also very well done but in that cheesy b-movie horror film kind of way. Tara Strong as Juliet really shows off how good of a voice actor she is and Michael Rosenbaum does a absolutely marvelous job as Nick. The dialog is funny most of the time but by the end of the game you will grow tired of hearing the same dick, fart and ass jokes and some people may find the game’s dialog to be distasteful. The game’s soundtrack is very good. It contains some great metal and rock tracks from some great bands, however; you will despise the song “Hey Mickey” by Toni Basil by the games end as it plays every time you activate the star meter.
Lollipop Chainsaw is a good game. The wacky over the top story is ridiculous yet fun and intriguing. There is a ton of collectables that will keep you going and the presentation of the game is a high point. However; the slow, sluggish and frustrating gameplay, very short campaign and sometimes repetitive dialog keeps this game from being great. The one thing I want to stress the most though is that this is a game that knows its a videogame. In a world that most games strive to be photo-realistic and grounded to real life, this is a welcome change. This is a VIDEOGAME.
+A fun b-movie horror film kind of story that will entertain you
+A ton of collectables and outfits
+Great voice-acting and soundtrack
+Very goofy and ridiculous
-Sluggish and at times, unresponsive controls
-Extremely short campaign
-Occasional camera issues
Final Verdict: 7.5/10
Price at the time of Review: $30-$40
At this price it may be a stretch for some. I suggest waiting till it hits the $20 price tag before you purchase.